What is Creatine used for as a supplement? Creatine is one of the most widely used sports supplements today. Thousands of athletes, body builders and sports people all around the world use it. It’s primary function is as energy replenisher for ATP, this is produced naturally in the body, and made by the liver, kidneys and pancreas. It is then secreted into the blood, and around the body to muscle tissues. The chemical name is methylguanido-acetic acid, made from the three amino acids, methionine, arginine and glycine.
Creatine – does it work? Supplements do exactly that – supplement. But, yes, creatine, when taken at the right dose, will help a person receive the desired effects. Creatine is without doubt the most researched body building supplement of all-time, There is overwhelming evidence that it helps improve muscular performance. Only a small proportion of users report no noticeable improvements using creatine.
What does creatine do? Creatine has a number of major functions as a sports supplement. All of these functions revolve around its function as an energy replenisher through it forming the creatine phosphate molecule.
Creatine replenishes ATP. This is the molecule which when broken down releases energy for the muscle to contract. When used up, ATP needs to be replenished by re-acquiring phosphates. CP acts as a phosphate transporter. CP gives up its phosphate to ATP freeing creatine to form the bi-product creatinine for excretion.
Some studies have been conducted to show that higher quantities of creatine present in the muscle, the more effectively ATP can be replenished. This means the user will have more energy from the ATP. To summarise, Creatine enables you to have higher amounts of energy to lift heavier weights, and at a higher intensity.
What is creatine loading? Creatine loading is where the subject takes a high dose of creatine for the initial few days which is then followed by a maintenance lower dose for a few weeks. Some studies have shown that this achieves a higher concentration of muscle CP then by simply taking a maintenance dose alone. There are a number of loading regimens, but the following one seems to be optimal and most cost effective: 10g per day – Week One 5g per day – Week Two & Three 3g per day – Thereafter as maintenance
When will the effects of Creatine become noticeable? This varies from person to person. Often with the cell volumisation effects, you should see an increase in your weight after only the first week. You will begin to feel fuller in your muscles, more energy at the gym and will be able to lift and rep heavier weights within 1-2 weeks. Size and strength gains from creatine will be found within the first month of use.
What should my fluid intake be when taking creatine? It is impossible to put an exact figure on this. A good water intake is crucial for your health and athletic performance, irrespective of creatine use. Drink regularly and plenty daily, usually at least 2 litres per day. Thirst is not a good sign.
Can I still drink Alcohol? It is best to avoid alcohol, but in small amounts whilst using creatine it is acceptable as long it is not a regular thing. Alcohol is a diuretic, dehydrating you. If you do drink alcohol, make sure you take on plenty of water to keep up your hydration levels.
What are the side effects of creatine? Creatine monohydrate has been shown in numerous studies to be, safe, even in large quantities, nevertheless there are some side effects of creatine which you need to be aware of before commencing its use. Headaches and Nausea have been reported but this can easily be rectified by drinking plenty of water. At least 2 litres every day.
Is it for me? I hope after reading this article you can now answer this question for yourself. Creatine is probably the most researched of all fitness supplements and is often praised by many sports people of different backgrounds and definitely has a role in body building. Although, despite all the hype around creatine, it is not a magic supplement. You can still build an impressive physique without ever having any. A good diet and training regime are still essential to meet your goals. It is definitely worth giving creatine monohydrate a try. You will then be able to see for yourself, the positive results from supplementing with creatine.
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